On the famed cycling streets in Liege, Belgium today, the fight for the 2012 Tour de France general classification (GC) started between defending champion Cadel Evans and British rival Bradley Wiggins.
Team RadioShack-Nissan’s Fabian Cancellara crushed the opening 6.4km Tour de France prologue course to win, powering across the finish line in 7:13, according to VeloNews prologue stats. In second place was Wiggins, finishing second overall and first among potential GC favorites.
Top 10 finishers today:
- 1. Fabian CANCELLARA, RadioShack-Nissan, in 7:13
- 2. Bradley WIGGINS, Sky, at :7
- 3. Sylvain CHAVANEL, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at :7
- 4. Tejay VAN GARDEREN, BMC Racing, at :10
- 5. Edvald BOASSON HAGEN, Sky, at :11
- 6. Brett LANCASTER, Orica-GreenEdge, at :11
- 7. Patrick GRETSCH, Argos-Shimano, at :12
- 8. Denis MENCHOV, Katusha, at :13
- 9. Philippe GILBERT, BMC Racing, at :13
- 10. Andriy GRIVKO, Astana, at :15
Evans finished in 13th position, 17 seconds after Cancellara’s time, but only 10 seconds down on Wiggins’ impressive second-place ride. Meanwhile, Team Liquigas rider Vincenzo Nibali rode a strong prologue and finished in 14th place, and is 18 seconds down on GC.
In an impressive performance while still flying under the radar, Katusha’s Denis Menchov slotted in eighth place overall, 13 seconds back.
The big loser on the day has to be Team RadioShack rider Frank Schleck, finishing a rather disappointing 38 seconds down in 138th position.
Each GC candidate still has plenty of open road to make up lost time today—but the cycling world has been put on alert that Evans and Wiggins are both on solid form. Also, don’t forget about the likes of Menchov and other dark horses that can help liven up the race even further.